Saturday, June 23, 2007

Teaching Your Kids Good Money Skills

How many times have you told your kids, "Money doesn't grow on trees"? Eventually, your children are going to have to learn that getting the things they want requires some effort. The sooner you instill this concept in your child's mind, the better. Lessons about finances are easy and can be incorporated into everyday life early on. These lessons can also be fun and if you make them a game, your child might not even be aware that you're teaching anything at all.

Parents are all too familiar with the typical trip to a store accompanied by small children dazzled at all the offerings at their fingertips (need we really explain further?). Shopping is the best place to start teaching children about money and financial responsibility.

The first concept to get across is "wants" versus "needs". Most kids will be attracted by brightly colored packaging or influenced by television programs they've seen marketing certain items or cartoon characters. Bright packaging and something familiar is followed by "Mommy, I want…!"

As you go through the store, explain the choices that you make. A grocery store is easiest for this lesson. Yes, you understand your child may "want" the Rocky Road ice cream and Neon Green Go-Getter popsicles, but you only have so much money and you "need" the broccoli, the milk and the eggs. Some things you buy to live and eat well. Other things you can live without.

While you're at the grocery store, teach your child how to compare labels for value. Sure, the name brand package looks fancy and has nice pictures, but the store brand is exactly the same product, sold at a lesser price and better value. Make finding bargains and better prices a game by having your child help you look for sales and help you cut coupons out at home.

Another important concept to teach children is that of quality and durability over cheap and disposable. Teach your child the advantages of buying a well-made toy or piece of furniture by letting them help pick out a desk or a bed for their room. Show them the difference between long-lasting quality and run-of-the-mill, assembly line production. The mass-produced plastic product might be cheaper, but will it last as long as the hand-made rocking horse?

Shopping is a great opportunity to teach your children about credit cards and "plastic cash" too. Children should learn at an early age that the piece of plastic you give in exchange for goods is not "free money". Explain that you're making a promise to the store that you will pay for the goods later or that they'll accept your debit card because you've saved money and "put it on" the card.

Credit cards are also good for lessons about action now, consequence later. Ask your children what they think might happen if you don't fulfill your promise to pay for the credit card bill when it arrives in the mail? The point is to help children understand that money doesn't just "happen" and that even though you can't always see it or touch it, it's there and you have to manage it carefully. Children will also learn that money doesn't appear out of thin air every time they want something.

About the Author: Lily Morgan, finds helpful and creative ideas for parents and grandparents while you shop our great selection of kids furniture (including our popular
toddler beds) and classic toys. Visit today!

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Toddlers And Children With Heartburn Or Acid Reflux

Heartburn in toddlers and children is not thought to be as common as heartburn in adults. This may be due to the strength of the young LES – the ring of muscle that controls the flow of swallowed food and water from the esophagus into the stomach.

Heartburn in toddlers and children is, nonetheless, a real concern. It may be simple heartburn or acid reflux – or it could be a symptom of a more serious underlying medical concern. Repeated episodes of acid reflux or heartburn in toddlers and children should trigger an appointment with your pediatrician.

Preventing Heartburn in Toddlers and Children

If your pediatrician finds no underlying reasons for heartburn in your child, you will want to take steps to prevent it. Prevention will differ from one child to the next. What works for one may not work for another. Try these 7 steps and see which works best for your child.

1. Be sure the child's clothing is not tight at the waist during and immediately after meals. Tight clothing can put pressure on the stomach, which in turn pressures the LES and produces heartburn.

2. Give the child something quiet to do immediately after meals. Returning to active play can pressure the stomach before it has digested the food and prompt heartburn. Children should be instructed not to bend at the waist for 15 to 30 minutes after eating.

3. Heartburn in toddlers and children can often be a matter of excess weight, especially at the waist. Ask your pediatrician what your child's weight should be. If he or she is overweight, work with the doctor to get them to a healthy weight to prevent heartburn.

4. Serve smaller meals. Overeating will result in a stomach that is too full to do its work properly. The churning motion a too-full stomach can, like the churning motion of an overfilled blender, cause the "lid" to pop open. When that lid is the sphincter ring of muscle, heartburn can result.

5. Serve small snacks between meals. This will allow the child to get enough nourishment, and not be as eager to overeat at meals.

6. Withhold junk food that is high in fat and sugar. Heartburn in toddlers and children can be caused by a diet that is unbalanced, and lacking in nutritious food.

7. Eliminate beverages that contain carbon dioxide (bubbles). Too much gas in the stomach can caused the sphincter to open at the wrong time. Heartburn in toddlers and children is often prevented quickly by disallowing soda pop with the meal.

If you try all of these without gaining relief, you may want to begin a food diary, writing down everything your child eats each day. When heartburn occurs, log it in immediately to see if a specific food has been eaten before each episode. When you visit the pediatrician, show him or her the food diary.

Heartburn in toddlers and children can occur at night. The child may awaken crying and complaining of pain in the upper abdomen or lower chest. Perhaps the heartburn occurs in the evening before going to bed. This type of heartburn can often be avoided by not allowing the child to eat right before going to bed.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. Parents who suspect heartburn in toddlers and children should seek advice from the child's pediatrician.

About the Author: © 2007, Anna Hart. Anna herself lives with a husband who used to suffer heartburn frequently, and she empathizes with your problem. She invites you to read more of her articles about heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD at Anna continues to research and post regular information on that site. If you want to help children understand heartburn causes, please visit Anna now.

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